Hero with a Thousand Faces

An Interview with actor Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Fantastic Four 2) [This interview originally appeared in SciFiDimensions.com in February 2007.] You might not know his face, but if you’re a fanboy or fangirl, chances are you know Doug Jones. For nearly two decades Jones has flown under the media radar, parleying his physical abilities (he has …

The Monster of Rapprochement

How the Japanese Destroyed Tokyo Themselves and Unwittingly Unleashed a Trans-Pacific Collaboration that Helped Mend US-Japanese Relations The early 1950s was not an easy time to be Japanese, especially if you were trying to please Americans. Despite winning the Pacific War and exacting vengeance by firebombing Tokyo and subjecting Hiroshima and Nagasaki to nuclear annihilation, …

Five Questions with Sam Harris

[This interview was conducted via email in May 2005 and published in a local (metro Atlanta) freethought newsletter. Sam Harris earned his PhD in cognitive neuroscience, has authored several bestselling books, and currently hosts the popular podcast Making Sense. –JCS 12/24/2021] Sam Harris is a Stanford-based philosopher, doctoral candidate in neuroscience, and author of The End …

Five Questions with Nathaniel Branden

[This interview was conducted via email in April 2005 and published in a local (metro Atlanta) freethought newsletter. Dr. Branden died in 2014. –JCS 12/24/2021] Nathaniel Branden is a psychotherapist and a pioneering expert in the psychology of self-esteem. He’s also one of the founders of Objectivism, the philosophy originated by the late novelist Ayn Rand …

Five Questions with Philosophy Talk’s Ken Taylor and John Perry

[This interview was conducted via email in February 2005 and published in a local (metro Atlanta) freethought newsletter. Dr. Taylor died in 2019, but Philosophy Talk is still going strong with Dr. Perry and other co-hosts. –JCS 12/24/2021] Philosophers love to talk. And talk and talk and talk. Give a philosopher your ear and he’ll …

Five Questions with Historian Gordon S. Wood

[This interview was conducted via email in December 2004 and published in a local (metro Atlanta) freethought newsletter. –JCS 12/24/2021] Gordon S. Wood is one of the foremost experts on the American Revolution and the origins of the U.S. Constitution. Wood won the Pulitzer Prize in history for his 1991 book The Radicalism of the American Revolution. His …

The Matrix Revolutions

[This review originally appeared in SciFiDimensions.com in November 2003.] Everything that has a beginning has an end. Sort of. When Larry and Andy Wachowski introduced audiences to The Matrix back in 1999, it was the beginning not only of one of the most lucrative film franchises of all time, it was also the beginning of a fresh …

The Matrix Reloaded

[This review originally appeared in SciFiDimensions.com in May 2003.] Reality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The Matrix is a vast computer simulation feeding the minds of humanity, whose bodies (housed in row upon row of nutrient-filled cocoons) provide energy for the Machines who have conquered their creators. As far as everyone “trapped” in …

The Matrix Unloaded

The Dilemma of Shutting Down the Matrix [This essay originally appeared in SciFiDimensions.com in May 2003, just before the first sequel to The Matrix—The Matrix Reloaded—was released. Obviously, the franchise went in directions that completely negate my speculations, but I think they’re interesting enough to warrant revisiting. –JCS 12/27/2021] Millions of science fiction fans have May …

But Is It Science Fiction? Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged

[Originally published in May 2000 at SciFiDimensions.com.] Ayn Rand’s magnum opus Atlas Shrugged turns 50 this month. Objectivists are celebrating, and CSPAN 2 recently devoted several hours of programming to discussions about the late Rand and her literary/philosophical influence. Nearly a quarter century after her death, Rand is still stirring up controversy, and despite her …